Alexis Monville (en)

Talking to Strangers

Based on a recent recommendation, I read Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. The book was already on my reading list, as I really enjoyed his previous books.

In reality, I listened to the enhanced audiobook on audible. Enhanced means that you have real interviews, and others played dialogues along with the narration by the author.

The book is excellent. It is about our (in)ability to grasp what strangers are up to because of three aspects:

  • We default to the truth: we think people are telling the truth, and it serves us well because people usually are telling the truth. But, it is not always the case.
  • We believe in transparency: we think we are pretty good at reading people. We believe the behavior we observed is aligned with what people think and say. But, it is not always the case.
  • We don’t believe in coupling. In reality, location or context dictates the behavior of people. Their behavior is not defined by who they are.

The combination of the two first aspects makes us easy to be fooled. By adding the third aspect, we turn it into a society problem. The book is a must-read. And, by the way, the part on Alcohol is a must-read.

Go for it and tell me what you think!